Community life

Haringey teenagers' Holocaust education

January 28, 2010

Interviews with survivors filmed by six Haringey teenagers were shown at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.

One of the film-makers, 16-year-old Reece Taylor, said that before embarking on the project, “I didn’t really understand what the Holocaust was, or how it could be of interest to me. While making the films, I realised that these survivors had amazing stories to tell that help remind us of the importance of the past in learning lessons for the future.”

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Survivor's story: Ben Helfgott

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Ben Helfgott went through “hell” during the Holocaust — and 70 years on, his life is still consumed by it.

Mr Helfgott, 79, was a boy when the Nazis invaded his Polish home town of Piotrkow, Lodz. He was moved to a ghetto, the first in Europe, in November 1939 and worked in a glass factory. At one point, SS guards marched into the factory and rounded up anyone they believed was Jewish. The man in charge saved his life by telling the SS men that he was Polish.

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Pupil's painting for Holocaust survivor grandfather

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

A Jewish pupil at a leading public school has created a Holocaust exhibition in memory of his grandfather as an A-level art submission.

Alex Ziff, 18 — one of just eight Jews at Wellington College in Crowthorne, Berkshire — wanted to bring home to his peers the reality of the Shoah.

Alex’s grandfather, Heinz Samson, passed away in September. He had fled to England from Germany, aged 19, but his parents died at Minsk and his sister at Auschwitz.

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Huge demand for Holocaust education in schools

By Jay Grenby, January 28, 2010

Huge demand for the annual educational HMD programme organised jointly by Kingston United and Liberal synagogues necessitated its extension to three days this year.

Almost 500 secondary school students attended workshops, heard testimony from survivors and joined candle-lighting ceremonies.

Over 40 volunteers from the shuls were involved and the project was supported by neighbourhood grants from the local council.

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Kaddish Dropped after complaints

January 28, 2010

A WOMAN rabbi is distraught that an invitation to recite kaddish at the City Hall ceremony was withdrawn after complaints from “observant Jews”.

Rabbi Miriam Berger of Finchley Reform Synagogue was “honoured” to have been approached by Boris Johnson’s office. “But a few weeks ago I got a call asking to do a reading instead. They said pressure had been put on them not to allow kaddish by a woman.

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Boris: ‘Keep driving the message of the Holocaust’

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Boris Johnson stressed the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive at City Hall on Tuesday.

After hosting an HMD ceremony for survivors, civic and Jewish community leaders and students, the London Mayor said: “It’s so easy to become desensitised to the events of the Holocaust and forget how important it was. That would be tragic. We have to keep driving the message.

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Northwood remembers the Holocaust

By Jay Grenby, January 28, 2010

A memorial to Shoah victims has been installed in the entrance to Northwood Synagogue. The memorial is a wall of Jerusalem stone with a plaque in Welsh slate bearing a quotation from the Book of Job in Hebrew and English. Designed by architect Robert Budwig, it was donated by the congregation’s immediate past chair David Freedman in memory of his wife Estelle.

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Council denies Dismore snub

By Jay Grenby, January 28, 2010

Barnet Council has denied an HMD snub to the Hendon Labour MP who was one of the prime movers behind the establishment of the commemoration in Britain.

Instead of joining the formal procession of community leaders and other dignitaries at Sunday’s local ceremony, as he has done every year, Andrew Dismore sat in the back in the public area.

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Gordon Brown hails British Holocaust hero

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Gordon Brown backed HMD by praising a “brave and courageous” British PoW who swapped places with a Jewish inmate at Auschwitz.

Denis Avey, now 91, was a guest of the Prime Minister, along with survivor Ben Helfgott and Holocaust Educational Trust representatives at Downing Street last Friday.

With his wife Sarah also in attendance, Mr Brown signed the Holocaust memorial Book of Commitment and spoke with the group for 45 minutes.

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Holocaust survivor’s tales move Guildhall audience

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

An 84-year-old told Britain’s national Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony how joining the Auschwitz orchestra had kept her alive.

In a moving video testimony to an audience of 600 at London’s Guildhall, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch said: “It was the cello that saved my life and it has become a very important object for my family. It gives us a dimension outside the horror of what is going on in this world.”

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